LAURENCE STEPHEN LOWRY, R.A. (1887-1976)
LAURENCE STEPHEN LOWRY, R.A. (1887-1976)
LAURENCE STEPHEN LOWRY, R.A. (1887-1976)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
LAURENCE STEPHEN LOWRY, R.A. (1887-1976)

Old Church, Merthyr-Tydfil

Details
LAURENCE STEPHEN LOWRY, R.A. (1887-1976)
Old Church, Merthyr-Tydfil
signed and dated 'L.S. LOWRY 1960' (lower left)
oil on canvas
24 x 20 in. (61 x 50.8 cm.)
Painted in 1960.
Provenance
with Lefevre Gallery, London, where purchased by the previous owner in November 1965, and by descent.
Acquired from the above by the present owner's father in 1990, and by descent.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Lot Essay

Lowry was fascinated by churches and places of worship, and they appear in paintings and drawings repeatedly throughout his career. The church was a focal point of the urban landscape and, for Lowry, they had as much possibility of drawing a crowd to sketch as a factory, a mill, or the local cinema or fish and chip shop. To the artist they represented a symbol of permanence in an ever-changing urban landscape, so much so that Lowry often included his favourite Manchester churches in a recognisable format in composite landscapes representing the northern scene. Whenever Lowry travelled further afield and around the British Isles with friends, and during his regular trips after his retirement, he always depicted the local church, which came as naturally to him as sketching the people and the houses.

The looming spectre of the church on the horizon, allowed Lowry to create his favoured viewpoint of a building which rises about a central road, flanked by houses and pavements, with figures approaching. In the present work, a small group of people stand in the middle of the road (Lowry eschewed traffic save for the occasional horse ambulance, or the contraption - an invalid carriage), dwarfed by the structures around them, staring up at a single figure who serves to emphasise the imposing majesty of the building above him. The curving pavement and circular staircase contrast sharply with the lines and symmetry of the church on the horizon.

Lowry encountered this building on a visit to Wales, probably with his friend and patron, Monty Bloom, and it is an accurate depiction of the Synagogue at Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. In recent times this Grade II listed building from 1877 has been preserved as a Welsh Jewish Heritage Centre, having been identified as among the most important 16 synagogues at risk in Europe.  

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